Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Heroes, Internal Eternal Human Values

Thanksgiving night, my sister and I and a few other family members watched part of the CNN Heroes program honoring 10 nominees for "hero of the year," and acknowledging the good, productive efforts of many. I love the program, and each time I watch it, remembering bits and pieces of profiles I've seen throughout the year, I think more deeply about what it means to be human, and what courage it takes to live a truly human and humane life.

When I mentioned to my cousin that our focus of study in Spiritual Philosophy is the Ethical Values, he told me about a very popular Harvard Professor whose classes are now full and growing, and whose dialogue focuses on values, how and why we choose and believe as we do. He gave me an example he heard in the class, and said he'd send me the info - it's fascinating, he said!

All during the holiday, I thought about what motivates me in my life. I thought about this as we created and lived our familiar rituals, including the constant changes big and small. I'd bought my plane ticket early (as Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year), we'd all made our plans to be in Memphis (even though Mom had died in October, and Dad in February, and their house is now empty). Cousins made their plans accordingly as well. As we ate familiar food, saw familiar faces, took naps, laughed together, threw the football, washed dishes, I thought about the nature of rituals and how we want them to become "second nature." Yet they require conscious planning, thought, execution of a plan.

Ferrell McCollough, a fantastic photographer, wrote a great post on his blog called The Creative Plan. He explained his creative plan. The deliberate creation to fulfill a "look" or a vision in his mind - intention carried out by active pursuit,planning the necessary physical details, always open to change-in-the-moment. When I read this, I thought again about our rituals of life, and what motivates me in mine.

If true learning is truly unlearning what we think we already know, then we have one more validation that change is the only constant! Without Mom and Dad's physical presence at Thanksgiving, our biggest annual family ritual, change was evident, yet love lives on, life goes on. I felt my Mom's presence in every twinkle in my Aunt's eye, in every laugh she offered, in so many gestures she made, stirring her coffee after adding sweetener, touching her hair. I felt Mom's smile and sigh when I turned toward another on the couch, and when I rolled over in bed as I spoke to her in my mind. I miss you, Mom, I said, smiling, and with tears rolling down my cheeks. I had visions of Dad as his old smiling self, his sighs, his simple pleasures, his love of life and of people. I asked questions.

What motivates me? The energy of life and love is my creation, and the growth and change of my own consciousness as an energy being is the ultimate in self-motivation. The branches of that tree are many - all I enjoy about life, and the crazy details that sometimes make it up. Sometimes I feel I am gathering too many thoughts, details, ideas, plans in my arms like a big load of warm laundry from the dryer, to the next stage of folding. Socks drop. I'm learning to appreciate this sense I've grown into, and in small ways always had, of life being so BIG, so full, and my arms so small. Energy is real. The image of myself as running with balloons always fits, stooping to taste chocolate ice cream and keep it from dripping onto my clean dress, squinting into the sun, and, always, studying the waves in water. We have a lot to be grateful for, as Dad always said. Energy is Real.

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